Anythink & the Opera
In the fall, after being encouraged by Anythink to spend a day creatively outside of my comfort zone, I attended the Met Opera's Live in HD performance of L'Elisir d'Amore. For the musically challenged like me, opera is definitley outside of the comfort zone! My perception of opera was: it's long, it's boring and it's foreign, therefore I won't understand a thing. And not being musical, I lacked any knowledge and appreciation that could help me to enjoy the opera better. However, after attending L'Elisir d'Amore, a romantic comedy with gorgeous costuming and set production, I found I was already planning on attending the next Met Opera Live in HD performance.
I wanted more.
But this time, I would use Anythink to add to the experience, gain more appreciation, and better my understanding.
When the next opera scheduled for a Live in HD broadcast was Otello by Verdi, I read both Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor Prince and Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of the Theater. When the performance was The Tempest by Ades, a visually stunning and breathtaking experience (think Cirque du Soleil meets the opera), I made it a point to read Shakespeare's The Tempest. My fascination continued to grow and grow. I decide to search even more opera materials and I found an amazing book titled, Opera: Great Composers and Their Masterworks. Before every subsequent performance I was able to read a short bio on the composer and synopsis of the opera. All this added immensely to my understanding and experience.
Even this though, wasn't enough to satisfy my growing appetite for the opera and I found myself reading fiction books with a common opera theme to help fulfill that desire. Here are a few of those titles that are great reads -- whether you're an opera lover or not:
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (Winner of the Pen Faulkner award): Set in an unnamed South American country, this novel opens up in the home of the vice president, where diplomats and business men from around the world have gathered to hear world famous soprano Roxane Coss. The party is then halted by the intrusion of terrorists and what ensues is as dramatic as any opera out there.
The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonald: Erika von Kessler, a well-known mezzo soprano in the United States, is torn between developing her career further, which would require a move to Italy, or pleasing a husband who is pushing her to seek an answer to her seeming infertility.
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani: A love story that spans a lifetime between two native Italians, where opera is as much a part of who they are as pasta and a good bottle of wine, The Shoemaker's Wife is sure to leave a tear in your eye.
I have, so far, attended eight of the twelve Live in HD Met Opera performances with only one performance left this season: Handel's Giulio Cesare, which will be broadcast live on April 27. For more information check out Fathomevents.com.
Looking back, I am very grateful for my opera-fueled creativity day and the nudge to try something new. With the help of Anythink's materials, I have grown in my knowledge of opera, history and Shakespeare. I now have a new hobby, a new interest and a new passion.